Sunday, March 29, 2015

Last night’s retirement adventure came when I decided to go to the local bar and see one of my friend’s band play.  I had missed their last performance and decided I would go this time.  I am so glad that I did.

I don’t usually stay up late but took it easy yesterday and even rested my eyes for a half hour or so.  I arranged to sit with a couple of friends so I didn’t look like a sore thumb.

Evidently, my Zumba exercise is paying off as I danced almost every song.  I even got asked by a gentlemen to dance.  He said to me, “do you swing?”  Well, I tell you, I was taken aback.  My first thought was that he wanted me, and then he took hold of my hand and told me to just dance.  And so we did.  He was a fabulous dancer and leader.  I swirled and twirled, and he even dipped me once.  I danced three dances with him.

I ran into so many of my friends and had such a very good time.

The band was excellent as usual.  They play everything from rock to country to the oldies and the new pop stuff that I don’t recognize.  They are Prime Time Live and if you get the chance to see them play, do so.  And dance!

That handsome dude on the left hand side is Mike Kelly, friend and confidante.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I woke up this morning at 4:30 with dream lunacy.  I was having this really silly dream that I was at camp or somewhere.  The kids were all doing testing and the people in charge were lounging around a campfire.  I walked over to a swinging chair where a guy was already seated.  I started to sit down and he said, “You might not want to sit here.  I am having Himalayan air currents.”

The person to the other side of me commented, “I hate it when that happens.”

I told him that I didn’t understand and he replied ,”I am having warm air currents between my Himalayans.”

I realized he was trying to nicely tell me that he had the farts.

I started chuckling and I was laughing so hard that I woke myself up.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  The hubster had to ask what it was, of course, and so I told him of my dream.  He did give a chuckle.  “Himalayan air currents!  That’s a new one.”

So I kept laughing until I was crying and then my nose started running and I had to get up to blow it.  I washed my face still chuckling.  I finally got in control of myself.  But I continued to still think about it and chuckled again.

I gave up and picked up my glasses and book.  Outlander got my mind under control but I swear I am still chuckling on occasion.

It don’t take much for simple folks!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Okay, so the funniest thing just happened to me.  I was doing the daily crossword puzzle, which I do every day, and the clue was "Feed Me Now!".  The answer covered the entire puzzle and so I typed, "I could eat a horse"  and that was the answer.

I was chuckling so hard that the hubster and to know what had made me laugh so.  He has to check things out if I find them funny.  I guess he figures if it is funny to me, it must be pretty good.

I do love a good laugh.  It is almost as good as a good "O" (you know what!).

I’ve noticed lately that when I am sitting Zazen I become a different kind of being.  This morning, for instance, I am breathing and counting my ten breaths so as to keep my concentration.  I then realize that I have quit counting and am just sitting and breathing and being enamored by the fact that I am doing this action.  I am taking oxygen into my body and I can almost feel it pulse through with each beat of my heart.

I breathe out and am totally in awe of the fact that my body is getting rid of its poison.  I feel the coolness of each breath in and the warmth of each breath exhaled.

Being a hyperactive sort of soul, this sitting and listening to the quiet is especially delicious to me.  I am gradually realize that I am hearing a king of melody and harmony in the quiet of my surroundings.  My left ear is hearing all the soprano notes, my right ear is honing in on the alto, and my stomach growling is filling in some bass notes.  The house creaks and it is a different bass note indeed.  I hear the dog snoring and more harmony is in my quiet.  The heater in the master bedroom comes on and it also brings more of my symphony of quiet.

A tear drops on my folded hand and it breaks the spell.  I find that I am smiling outrageously.


I'd like to say that this is my yoga room but it is not.  It is a room in the house on the Japanese Garden in Rockford, Illinois.  Anderson Gardens if you are ever there.  It is the only redeeming thing in the city of Rockford, beside JMK Nippon Restaurant.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Yesterday’s retirement adventure began with my picking up a couple of crochet pieces I had asked to be made.  The lady that was making them for me had an accident right after I asked her to make them and had amnesia for several years.  She is recovering nicely and came across the piece I loaned her to replicate.  I was so surprised when she called.  I had almost forgotten about them.

The pieces are antimacassars for the backs of my Queen Anne chairs in the living room.  I had the chairs recovered several years ago and wanted the crochet pieces to protect them from dirt and dust.  And so several years later I have my antimacassars.  (I just love that word, don’t you?)

I then dropped off a bowl of chili to my friend whose wife died last year.  He is in a heavy mourning and is severely depressed.  I like to drop him off something every once in a while just so I know he eats something.  He never answers the door but always calls me after he eats whatever I take him.
I was running kind of early so I decided to go take a picture of a tree I had been admiring.  It was just beyond Garnet’s house and I knew I had time.  I was in luck because two ladies were out raking around the tree.  I stopped and grabbed my camera and walked toward them.  They looked at me inquiringly.  I told them my name and that I was a Master Gardener and that I wanted to take a picture of this particular tree.

I am planning to do a Master Gardener presentation regarding trees and their importance to the homeowner.  I wanted to include this tree’s photo in my presentation.  They told me that the tree was a red bud and that it was over 40 years old.  It is really ragged but part of it is still alive and kicking.  They told me it continues to bloom every spring.

Photo taken, I headed out to Garnet’s house.  I still arrived early but she (as usual) was waiting for me by the porch.  I had to stop and pet the Dukester.  Her chocolate lab is the sweetest thing in the world.  He is huge and could easily knock me over but he just wiggles and leaps into the air.  I dodge him strategically.  Duke is a great dog.

Garnet and I proceeded to the Hobby Lobby in Rockford and I purchased some Mod Podge because I want to do a little project.  I also got some netting material to crochet some of those little pot scrubbers.  (I am just so ambitious!)  I saw the pattern on line and knew I had to try and make them.

Garnet purchased three packages of moss.  I never knew but she has this thing for moss.  She is going to try to grow some in her little garden.

As Garnet had never eaten at the Olive Garden we opted for that place for lunch.  I have an addiction to their potato soup and eat it every time I go there which is maybe twice a year.  Garnet went with the flat bread covered with veggies.  It was lovely.

Garnet said she wanted to go for a walk and I suggested we go to the Labyrinth at Womenspace.  I had heard about it from the ladies at my Wild Women’s Retreats.  I wanted to see just what this place was.  I had forgotten my instructions to the place at home and just winged it.  It is quite out of the way for Rockford.  Luckily I remembered all the names of the streets and remembered they were all left turns.  We drove right up to it.

We saw some wild turkeys out in the field.  I decided that I would go knock on the office door and ask instructions.  The lady who was the receptionist told me which way to go and to follow the ribbon rings.  Had I seen the ribbon rings?  I had not.  She walked out with me and directed me toward the ribbon rings.  Garnet and I proceeded down the path directed by the lovely ribbon rings and came into a clearing where we caught our first glimpse of the Labyrinth.  I never imagined that it was so large.  Well I started on the path at the opening but Garnet cheated and stepped over the stones into another path.

We talked as we walked and shared thoughts.  Garnet came across a bunch of feather and said, “I think there was an animal sacrifice here.”  We got a chuckle out of that.

Garnet and I have this thing about finding money.  She told me years ago that she always says, “Thank you God.  It’s alright if you send me money.”  And so I adopted the same.  I came across a quarter and picked it up.  I showed it to her and asked, “Do I dare keep this one?”  I hid it under a rock and she said when she got to that point she was tearing up the stones to find that quarter.  She is so funny!

On our way out of the labyrinth, I notice Garnet poking around the rocks off to the side.  She was over there stealing moss.  I swear she was.  She had little tufts of it in her hand and was trying to dig up a rock.  I gave her a clean tissue to put her moss into.

After our walk I realized that I had left my camera in the car and went back to get it.  The receptionist asked if we would come in after our walk for a tour of the facility and so we did that.  Womanspace is really spiritual.  Everything about it is artistic, spiritual, and womanly.
Garnet is thinking of going to their yoga classes.  I am thinking I am going to make one of those ribbon wheels.  I think it may deter the stupid woodpeckers that eat our house.

We head off to Michael’s where I buy a bunch of ribbon and a couple of hoops.  Garnet didn’t buy moss this time.  I guess she was satisfied with the stuff she had stolen.  Bless her heart.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Daddy

          “Anyone can be a father but it takes a special person to be a daddy.”  Hallmark card

          This morning at our usual Sunday breakfast, I had a wonderful realization about my father.  My friend was telling a story and responded that she saw a lot of her father in her son and in herself.  I thought to myself and brought to my mind’s eye an image of my own father.  I told the group at the breakfast table that I thought the only thing of my father that I had inherited was the ability to tell a good story.

          Later while writing in my journal I realized what a marvelous gift my father had given me.  I am a writer.  I tell stories and thanks to my father’s gene pool, I tell a pretty good tale.

          When I was a little girl one of my favorite things to do was to say to my father, “Daddy, tell us something about ‘down home.”  My parents were from the rural Kentucky hills and their childhood seemed to be Waltonesque to me.  Big family, not much money but a whole lot of love and adventures for kids running free in the countryside.

          My dad would conjure up a story about when he was a kid.  He had such wonderful stories to tell.  My favorite one was about the time his brother had challenged him to see who could throw a rock the farthest and my father had hit his brother right between the eyes with his throw.  We would all laugh and Daddy would just beam with obvious delight.  We kids would ask for more and more stories and he would agree and give us another rendition of one of his favorite memories.

          The things that made my father’s stories so good were the fact that they were real and had actually happened.  He used expression in his face as he told the stories and you could tell from his face that he was reliving those moments as he told us about them.  He would laugh and clap his hands and we would cry, “what then? What then?” and he would entice us further even if we had heard the story before.      

Daddy had so many stories about hunting and courting my mother and stories about his brother and sisters.  My most unfavorite were the snake stories because I would have bad dreams.  My mother would try to hush these stories but once he got on a roll there was no turning back.

          I think the reason I loved my daddy’s stories so much were that they allowed me a glimpse of him when he was young.  When I envision my daddy I see him, as he was young, smiling and handsome with such beautiful wavy dark hair.  I’ve heard it said that it is a shame that we didn’t know our parents when they were young.  Because of my father’s stories, I did know him when he was young.  He will always be young to me.  And he was a very special person.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in a very long time. I missed an appointment that I had set up quite a few weeks ago.  I woke up thinking it was Wednesday instead of Thursday.  I didn’t look at my calendar for that might have made me wake up.

The meeting was with a Garden Club that I belong to.  I am going to head up the crew to take care of the front gate garden where I live.  I am so disappointed in myself because that I missed the meeting showed that I am not responsible.  I fear it may hinder my crew’s ability to depend on my organizing skills.

I feel I must set up a meeting of my crew to apologize and get organized for this coming gardening season.  Of course I must make a snack and have tea or something for our consumption.  I plan to go out to the garden today and take various photos so I can identify all the plants that are already in place.

Most of the garden is perennials.  There are a few snapdragons and gallardias that come up on their own.  Last year they were left where they came up but I would like to move them strategically so that we have color throughout the garden.  I would also like to start some cosmos and marigolds to add even more color.

I sincerely hope that I can do a good job in this garden as it is the first view of our lovely lake community.  And I will try to be more responsible in my endeavors.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My most recent retirement adventure, of which I could do without, is that I applied for a job.  I saw an ad in the Rock River Times and it was for a personal assistant. It paid three hundred dollars a week and part time.  Just what I am looking for!

I emailed the address listed and said I was interested in applying for the job.  The person got back with me and asked for some information or a resume.  I haven’t had a resume in 14 years and so I told him I had been a secretary for many, many years and was highly organized.  The person wrote back that they were a realtor and wanted a person to go and inspect homes for sale and write up a report.  They attached a copy of a form that I would be using.

I replied that I was interested in applying and asked where were they located and when did they want me to begin the job.

The reply was that they were sending me a check to cover expenses of things that they wanted me to purchase to do this job.  I replied that I was surprised that they didn’t want to interview me in person.

At the mention of sending me a check, I wanted nothing more to do with this part time job.  Sure enough the check arrived and it was for over $1800.00.  I immediately put it into a ziplock and decided to take it to the cops.

I ran into the Durand cop while getting gas and he told me that I should take it to the state police and they would investigate.  Yesterday, I did just that.  I took a copy of the email I had received, the ad copy and the envelope containing the check.  I feel so relieved.

The police took my statement and said an investigator would probably be calling me to get more details of the event.  And so I am hanging on.  I am paranoid that someone might be trying to steal my identity.  I have informed my bank about this incident and they are aware to be on the “look out”.

I did not need this retirement adventure.  Please make it go away!!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

            I suppose I realized that my family and I were different from those around us when I asked my girlfriend and neighbor to attend church with us.  I had to go, no questions asked, and I figured if I had to go, maybe it would be more tolerable if I had a friend along.
            Together we asked her mother if it was okay that she went and then we asked my mom if it was all right with her.  So a couple of hours later, we were sitting on a hard-–as-rock wooden church pew and she was gawking around us like she thought everyone was naked or something.  Her eyes were huge and each new person she gaped at seemed more outrageous that the last.
            So I asked her what was wrong and she looked at me as if I had stripped naked too and asked me with a shaking voice what was wrong with all these people.  I told her they were praying and got the spirit of the lord and were shouting.
            “I know they’re shouting, but why?” she asked me.
            What she was asking hit me about ten years later when I realized that not everyone’s church had movers and shakers.  Our Pentecostal church seemed so ordinary to me because I had been attending this church all of my life.  My father was even the preacher every once in a while.  Folks feeling “the spirit” of the Lord and shouting, and even falling on the floor and doing a Pentecostal version of break dancing was an every day event.  These folks were the epitome of vehemence, especially about their religion.  I just thought every one was.
            Well my friend wasn’t my friend for very long after attending church with me and my family.  I think we scared the beJesus out of her.  We didn’t play together very often for a very long time.
            My parents were “saved” or as they call it these days, “born again”, quite a few years before I was born.  The church was called the Pentecostal Holiness Church and my father and mother were part of the brethren.  They all called each other “brother” and “sister”.  They had revivals and the neighborhood would complain for weeks of the noise and intrusion in their lives.  The congregation would occasionally hold dinner and meeting on the ground where all the sisters would cook and bring their finest dishes “in the name of the lord” and they would have an all day picnic with praying and worship and shouting and singing.  It was what “holy rollers” did.
            It was a sin for the men to wear long hair or facial hair but the women weren’t allowed to cut their hair.  When the congregation had foot-washing meetings, the women would sometimes unroll their long hair to dry the men’s feet with their hair.  (Boy would my friend have crapped if she had seen one of those meetings!)
            Part of our religion involved what men and women should wear.   I was forced to wear dresses until my sister, who was ten years older than I, got a job in the real world and purchased some shorts for me.  I think she thought it less sinful to cover up my panties when I was being my tomboy self, beating up boys and climbing trees than to defy God and the church by wearing pants.  To this day, I have never seen my mother in a pair of pants.
            One of the worst times of my young life involved the first time I had ever worn my newly acquired shorts.  I had been playing outside when my folks asked if I wanted to go for a ride.  I climbed in the car and did not realize it until we were at our Pastor’s house where it was that we were going.  My parents went in for a quick visit and I was left in the car because I was so horribly embarrassed and ashamed of my sinful shorts that I didn’t want to get out of the car.
            As chances were, the Pastor’s kids were outside playing in a sandpile and begged me to get out of the car and we would play.  I finally brought myself to getting out but as I got out, I fell to the ground and began to cover myself with the sand.  I have never felt such overwhelming shame in my life.
            We were not allowed to wear make up, bathing suits, go bowling, dance, listen to rock and roll and so many other things that I think it will suffice if I tell you what we could do.  We could go to church three and sometime four nights a week, revivals even more nights.  Sunday morning was Sunday school where we learned Bible stories and their interpretation of them.  Sunday night was church.  Tuesday nights were Bible study with more hellfire and brimstone and all that kind of good fanatic Christian stuff.  Friday was more church and if they got a good Christian music group we would have another church service on Saturday with special guests.
            The music, I have to say, was the best part.  Brothers and sisters all joined in on guitars, piano, organ, and tambourine or clapped their hands.  Everyone was encouraged to join in.  Everyone sang and really got into the music.  That usually when someone found the spirit and jumped up and danced around shaking their arms and talking in “tongues”.  Sometimes they would fall to the ground and break dance.  And everyone thought it was beautiful and it was.  They had really felt “the spirit” of the Lord.  They had shared it with the whole congregation.
            When folks were called to testify for the Lord things would sometime break loose and get pretty zealous.  Folks would tell their story of how they came to the Lord.  Or they would ask the congregation to pray for someone in need.  I remember once when I had a fever or a bad tooth or something, my mother (God bless her) asked the congregation to pray over me.  Here I was, just this little kid.  Some sweaty minister took out his handkerchief and anointed it with Olive Oil (I swear it was Pompeian) and applied it to my forehead.  At that point most of the congregation gathered around me so close that I could not breathe without smelling the sweat of every one of them closeby.  They prayed, cried and yelled so much that I’m sure if any germs had been near they would have been lambasted away from me.
            These were very good people.  They would do anything for each other.  They worked together when someone needed their house reroofed.  They built their own new church when the congregation became too large for the little original church.  They were kind to each other, but that is where their kindness ended, with each other.
            They were bigoted toward Baptist, Presbyterians, Catholics, Jews and the “coloreds”.  And the unbelievable part is that they didn’t hate all of those people because they were different, they hated them because they didn’t worship God correctly.  They condemned everyone.  Even new comers to the congregation had to take an occasional stab from some holier-than-thou Pentecostal.  It sickened me.
            I attended their church until around age 12 when the congregation considered an individual an adult who could make up their own minds whether to be saved or not.  I chose not to be saved.  I opted for a life of sin and damnation.  I went out for cheerleading.  I bowled.  I kissed boys and let them kiss me.  I attended Vacation Bible School at the local Baptist church.   I even went to Catholic mass with a friend of mine during college.       And worse than all of this, I took Eastern Philosophy in college.  I was even married by a Presbyterian minister.
            The gist of all this rigmarole about my Christian upbringing is that I am one moral yet pissed citizen.  I am pissed that the congregation that raised me and gave me my moral value structure is still even more despised, discriminated against, totally misunderstood by the society that we live in but has never been discussed in the open, that I am aware of, by anyone.
            This society who cries for understanding and sympathy for the physically handicapped, the alcoholic, Jews, Blacks, Amish and even the mentally ill still cannot accept fanatic Christianity with any civilized attitude.  Hell, Charles Manson gets a better rap from society than Holy Rollers.
            In my searchings of self help books I have yet to come across any literature to help the offspring of these people to overcome the brainwashing they went through as children.  The guilt alone that lives with you from day to day is overwhelming.  And going to visit for holidays is pure hell.  Everyone acts as if nothing is going on.
            When I go to visit my parents it is like this big ice cube that surrounds the whole scenario.  You can almost reach out and touch the coldness.  You are afraid to breathe for fear of the fog.  My father is constantly on the verge of breaking into a litany of hell & damnation over the least thing.  We cannot watch just anything on television for fear of his wrath.  My mother acts like she is walking on eggshells the entire time.  She is constantly guiding us off various subjects that could enrage my dad.

            Things are better now that Daddy doesn’t hear well but it is still not very comfortable to be around them.  My one constant fear is that I will someday end up at their bedside where their last wish will be that I “get saved” before its too late.  At which point in time I will sin my best and worst.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I was born in Dayton, Ohio.  Home of the famous Wright brothers, and it used to be an all right place to live.  My daughters were also born in Dayton and in the very same hospital – Miami Valley Hospital.

Down the street from the hospital is one of my very favorite places in Dayton.  It is Woodlawn Cemetery and Arboretum and has just the most wonderful attractions.  When you enter the cemetery you see this fabulous structure with a gentleman, Adam Schantz, sitting atop a mausoleum.  It is said that he moves every once in a while.  We always try to capture him moving but have never had the privilege.

There is a lovely burial crypt that always has a fresh red rose on the door handle.  We always wonder who puts the rose there every day.

You travel up a slight grade to the top of the hill and the view of Dayton is so very lovely.  I have many photos of this exact spot.  I have taken many visitors to Dayton to see this view.

One of my favorite graves is that of little Johnny Morehouse.  I looked on line and discovered that Johnny drowned in a canal near his home.  His dog dragged him out of the canal but Johnny was already dead.  The cemetery site says that this monument of Johnny and his dog is one of their best attractions.  The monument was carved by a local sculptor, Daniel La Dow and shows Johnny resting his head on his dog and next to him are his ball and ball cap and his harmonica.  These were in Johnny’s pocket when he drowned.  Legend states that Johnny’s dog sat beside his grave for days after his burial.

Another of my favorite grave sites is a little girl playing a flute.  I wonder if she really did play the flute in life or if her family just wanted her to play the flute throughout eternity.

There is always something very whimsical in the cemetery.  With the University of Dayton in the neighborhood, I wonder if kids get drunk in the cemetery and leave remnants of their drunken evening.

One of my personal heroes is buried there – Erma Bombeck.  Also buried there are Wilbur Wright, Charles F. Kettering and Paul Lawrence Dunbar, three of the famous Daytonians.

If you ever get to Dayton be sure to check out the cemetery.  You will not be sorry.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I made a terrible mistake last week.  I mentioned religion on Facebook.  I am probably making my second error today blogging about it.

The item that I responded to said something about praying for Christians in Egypt because their religion was killing them.  I stupidly commented that we should pray for those who think their religion is the only right one.

I was raised by fanatic Christians who condemned everyone around them.  The Baptist were sinners and were going to hell.  The Catholics were even worse and would spend eternity in purgatory.  I kept wondering who had died and made them God.  I respected them and their religion but I kept thinking that maybe the Baptist and Catholics were plenty happy in their religion.

I was lucky that my fanatic Christian parents did not force their religion on me but allowed me to make my own decision.  Well I decided to burn in their hell.  I tried out many religions.  I went to Catholic mass, took Eastern Religion in college and listened to many friends and acquaintances speak their minds about their religious beliefs.

One of the things that happened with the hubster was one of the reasons I was drawn to him.  When I asked him about his religious beliefs, he told me he was baptized a Lutheran but that “his beliefs transcend most organized religions.”  That just blew me away.  This thought felt so warm within me.

My first yoga class was when I was about 22.  I was taking some business classes because I thought it might help me to get a better job.  Along with the classes I decided to try yoga.  I enjoyed the many postures but what really kicked my ass were the meditations.  I have been hyperactive most of my life and the thrill I get when I “learn to be still” (Thank you Eagles for this expression) is so ecstatic to me.

I realized I had found part of my spirituality.  I unfortunately did not continue to practice it much until later in life.

I feel that religion is kind of like an outfit.  You try it on and if it doesn’t feel right well don’t condemn your neighbor if they buy it and wear it proudly.  Not everyone looks good in that outfit.  And so I went out and found my proper outfit.  I am a Pantheist.  I don’t go out of my way to announce the fact.  But the first time I read about Pantheism I knew that was my religion.  The outfit looked pretty good on me.

I have much respect for life in general.  If I start a bunch of seeds it is hard for me to thin them and keep the strongest.  I have these stupid cherry tomatoes that keep coming up in my garden and it is so hard for me to pull them by the hands full and pitch them into the compost.  Last year I had this unknown squash thing come up and it was decorative gourds.  They drew every squash bug in the vicinity and really pissed me off.

I do kill houseflies.  They are dirty and nasty and I won’t tolerate them in my home.  I also don’t care for mosquitos or snakes.  If I find large insects in the house I do try to move them outside without hurting them.  I am growing an unnatural hatred of Japanese beetles.  They are invading my red raspberries and I am getting fed up with them.

Back to the religion subject – I don’t understand the Muslim thing with killing all infidels but I think not all Muslims believe in this.  I really should look further into this.

I personally believe if you want to worship dog turds, you have every right to do so.  If it isn’t affecting my outfit then go for it.

I found it extremely funny when Addi told me that Jess had told all of their friends that I was a Buddhist.  I do have a couple of Buddhas in my home but I just really like the dude.  I like Jesus too.  I think what he preached was pretty cool.  However, I do not believe in evangelism.  Don’t criticize my outfit and I won’t try to convince you to get one just like it.

One of the most influencing things I have ever heard that reflected my beliefs was in the song  Windup by Jethro Tull on the Aqualung album.  They sang “he’s not the kind you have to wind up on Sunday.”  Thank you Ian Anderson.  I usually spend most of my Sundays in the garden when I can.  It is there that I find most of my religion.  And now retired, sitting Zazen.  Learning to be still…

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


            My daughters pleaded for years for us to get a pet.  I had owned two dogs at one time and when one was sold and the other died, it took a long time to get over the grief.  I still get teary eyed when I think of my dog, Boris.

            I was so determined not to have pets.  I purchased a stuffed parrot which we hung in the solarium and named, Cortez.  The newness of the extraordinary pet wore off quickly and we were back to the children asking,  “Can we get a pet?”

            My younger daughter, Jessica, was given a snail in Kindergarten and she brought it home to die the next day.  His name was “Kool” and we buried him in the garden.

            I decided we would feed the birds outside.  I purchased a bird feeder, and a female cardinal visited daily and banged against the window frequently waking us up in the morning with her rantings and ravings.  I tried to convince the children that Lulu (the cardinal) was now our pet.  She visited several times a day with her boy friend, Arthur. We whistled and she would  whistled back.  Lulu finally bit it when she flew into a front window and was found dead on the deck.  We buried her next to the bird feeder.  I still run to the window if a bird bangs there.

            Our next pet adventure was with a gold fish.  I named it “Fluffy” and swore my love would never die.  I cleaned her bowl and fed her and even talked to her at times.  The kids laughed at me.  “Fluffy is a stupid name for a fish,” they told me.  So in a couple of weeks when “Fluffy” died they laughed and told jokes about flushing Fluffy down the toilet.  I dumped the bowl of water and the dead fish and flushed the toilet. 

“So there is your stupid pet and we will never have another one.” I cried to them sarcastically.

Sure enough my older daughter, Addi, decided to bring home another fish.  Her friend had a Japanese fighting fish and she wanted one too.  She named it “Tolstoy”.  (Now talk about stupid names for fish!)  I proceeded to call her fish “Fluffy” and ignore their insistence that the fishes name was Tolstoy..  My Fluffy was dead but I could call her fish Fluffy if I wanted to.

Addi introduced her fish to her friends and laughingly told them that Mom was persistent in calling the fish Fluffy.  (No one understands me; you know what I mean?)

Addi was off to college the next September and sure enough, Fluffy (Tolstoy) went with her.  Everyone loved him and came to visit him but called him Tolstoy.   When I e-mailed her I always said “hi” to Fluffy.  She even slipped on occasion and called him “Fluffy” too.

Fluffy came home with Addi during breaks and spent Christmas with us.  I ended up changing his water frequently.  My husband, Rick, took to the fish being around and taught him a trick.  Rick would rub his finger at the top of the bowl and Fluffy would jump right up to snap at him.  Fluffy would only perform his trick for Rick and we all got such a kick out of Fluffy performing.  Everyone who visited got to see Rick and Fluffy’s performance.

Once when I was changing Fluffy’s water, Rick helped me to transfer him to a safe container while I washed his bowl.  Poor Fluffy jumped right out of the net, bounced on the counter top and fell to the floor.  Rick was frantic, certain he had killed Addi’s fish.  After crying and getting him back into safe water, Fluffy was in shock.  We were certain he would die.

To our surprise, the next day, Fluffy was swimming around like a happy camper.  His tail was a little crooked but he seemed fine.  Rick was afraid to try the trick with him but after several days couldn’t stand not knowing if Fluffy would still do his trick.

The girls were gathered close and daddy started his finger circling the top of the tank.  Sure enough, Fluffy jumped to Dad’s finger.  We all were elated.

Addi went back to college and took our Fluffy with her.  When I talked to her I usually asked about Fluffy even before I asked how she was.

Several months passed and one day the fateful day came.  Addi called in tears.  “Mom, Fluffy died.”  I was in tears, she was in tears.  She came home the next weekend and clutched in her hands was a small box that she had put into the freezer to preserve.  Inside the box was our Fluffy.  Addi and I went to the garden the next day.  I dug a hole by the red raspberries while Addi unwrapped our frozen fish body.  We took a last long look and exclaimed to the powers that be that Fluffy was, by no doubt, “the best fish in the whole wide world.”  We left him to fertilize the raspberries.

Years later when I come across Fluffy’s little tank and accessories, I still get a little teary eyed.  He was the best fish in the whole wide world.

Addi told me recently that she was thinking of getting another fish.  I will try to call him by his own name.  There will never be another Fluffy.

Not Fluffy.  I don't have a photo of Fluffy.  This is Bob and Marley.  Another story to tell at a later time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I know everyone thinks that their children are the smartest, cutest and most wonderful children ever.  I am no different from any one else.  My girls gave me such joy when they were little as they do as adults.  We have so much fun and they have the best sense of humor thanks, of course, to me.  The hubster has his moments but was not the most excellent of fathers.

When Addi was just talking she was helping me fold the laundry one day.  She asked me, “Isthis frog side out?”  I looked at her in astonishment and said, “Frog side out?”

She replied, “You know – frog side out, frog side in.”

I began chuckling and realized she was asking if it was wrong side out or wrong side in.  I must have laughed all day at that one.

Addi also got into the habit of jabbering to herself.  I asked her one day what she was talking about and she told me she was speaking French.  I have no idea where she got the idea or where she had even heard about the French.  I’m pretty sure she wasn’t speaking French but thought it quite innovative of such a little kid.

When the girls were about two and four they watched a show on television called The Uncle Al Show.  It featured Captain Windy who wore a super hero costume and flew.  They began the show with a song, “American, I love you, the home of the free, America, I love you, the home of liberty.”  One day I was sitting in the family room while they danced and sang along with the show.  I realized that Jess didn’t really know the words and was singing this:  “Erica, I lol loo, the home of the free, Erica, I lol loo, the home of liver tea.”

I couldn’t’ help myself and I blurted out, “liver tea!”  I knew Erica was a playmate and she thought they were singing about her but liver tea?  So we sat down together and I went over the song and what it was about.  We still sang liver tea because it was just too funny.  And to this day when I leave my girls, I always tell them lol loo!

Addi was going on five when we discovered that she loved to feel satiny material.  I got out one of my old half-slips and gave it to her.  She decided to wear it with a Kool Aid tee shirt that was entirely too big for her.  She wanted to wear this outfit out in public.  I didn’t mind that she wore it around the house, but to the babysitter, and to the grocery?

We went to the local Goodwill store and looked through the little girl dresses.  We came across a pink full length dress that looked as if some little girl had been in a wedding in it.  We purchased it for Addi and she shed the Kool Aid tee shirt and slip.  I am sure she wore that princess dress for a year.

My sister and I decided we want to take the girls to Niagara Falls.  We drove in my sister’s new vehicle.  The girls slept a lot while we drove.  We spent the night somewhere near Akron/Cleveland where my sister was from.  We were up early the next morning to continue our journey.  When we got to the Pennsylvania border Jess woke up and asked where we were.  I answered that we were in Pennsylvania.  She looked out the window and asked, “Where are all the pencils?”  We howled at that one.

In Niagara Falls, my sister bought the girls the cutest little mouse finger puppets.  They entertained us a lot with those puppets that day.  When we went to our motel room that night we were all so bushed.  We got the girls pajamaed up and climbed into bed.  Jess started playing with her mouse puppet and Addi began to cry outrageously.

“Mousy,” she cried.  “I’ve lost my Mousy.”

My sister went down to her car and looked all over but there was no Mousy to be had.  Addi finally cried herself to sleep as my sister promised to get her another mouse the next day.
“Oh but I loved Mousy so much!” she exclaimed.

The next morning we packed up the car and as we started to get in Jess cried out that she found Mousy.  He was on the ground beside the car.  Addi was all over herself getting to the other side of the car.

“Oh Mousy, I love you so.”  She was so enraptured with the goofyass mouse puppet.  We had a lovely journey and it was during this visit that we saw the Cirque de Soleil.  They were just a little troupe of folks who did the most marvelous of things.  I don’t think I have ever seen two children so quiet, mouth agape and in awe of what happened on the stage.  There were folks on ten foot tall stilts, clowns of all varieties, and people in all kinds of distorted pretzel bodies.  We were so privileged to see them in their beginning phase.

Jess went through a period in pre-school when she was trying to hone her identity.  She decided that she wanted to change her name.  She chose Leigh which was her middle name.  We even made up a little ditty song so she could remember how to spell her name.  "Jessa has a middle name it’s L E I G H,"  we would sing.  And so she was Leigh for the first year of preschool.  She decided the second year that she needed a new name and asked what I had almost named her.  I told her Monica and that was the new name.  Her teacher, Miss Lynn, told me this had to be corrected because the other children didn’t know what to call her.

We had a little heart to heart talk and she went back to Jessica.  I believe most people still call her Jess to this day.  She refused Jessie and said she would rather be called Ica than Jessie.

Addi was a very smart little girl but she was the worst speller in the world.  She had learned to read and write using the IBM Writing to Read program.  She typed on the computer and wrote in phonetics.  Once she saw a word and learned it she could remember it but she had this one problem with the name John.  She persisted in writing Jhon.  She even wrote a book once and the main character was named Jhon.

One of Addi’s first boyfriends was named Jon and I could not help but kid her about Jhon.  I even called him Jhon at times and she would get so aggravated.

These are only a few of the many wonderful memories my girls gave me.  Their childish insights were always amazing to me.  They continue to amaze me as young women.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Today was one of those annoying days when I get a song stuck in my head and can’t get rid of it.  I had to look up an address and it ended up being on South Street.  Well I couldn’t resist a couple of bars of “Meet me on South Street” by the Orlons, I believe.  I even had to go on line and look up the lyrics because I couldn’t remember why it was the best street.  “To have a ball with you.”  How suggestive was that to a teenage girl in the 60’s?

I have been told that the German’s have a word for this brain problem.  I looked it up and ended up finding out that we call this phenomenon an ear worm or a brain worm.  The German word is Ohrwurm.  I was so ticket.  I wanted it to be something like oberstickterobesquedom.  I love German don’t you?  It is just such a puzzle and I love puzzles.

I ended up reading the Wikipedia page for ear worm.  I couldn’t believe all the stuff written about it.  I thought I was the only one who did this.

It seems that Poe wrote a story called the Imp of the Perverse about ear worms.  I have got to look that one up and read it.

Twain also must have been bothered by ear worms because he has a story entitle, A Literary Nightmare. Another one I must look up.

Wikipedia suggests that people with OCD are more prone to ear worms.  Well that sure isn’t me!  (One who had to look up the German word for ear worm.)

My biggest hoot was that Sponge Bob Square Pants had an episode about the subject matter.  I have never seen this show but now I must.

The article went on to say in judgment, by I forget whom, Queen’s “We are the Champions” is the worse song for ear worms.

I don’t know if you have even stayed awake at night singing “Afternoon Delight”; when in fact you don’t like the song nor did you have a copy or have ever request it to be played but that is truly annoying.

The night I tossed and turned around singing “The Star Spangled Banner” was one where I thought I might just beat my head against the wall.

My remedy for beating this obsession is to get up and read.  Or go listen to a song I at least like.  In the middle of the night it is not nice to play music while others are sleeping and I can’t find my headphones.  More times than once I have gotten up to read and read a line that caused me to start singing a different and even more annoying song in my head.

I once told a therapist that I sang songs at night and drove myself nuts.  She thought I meant that I was singing them aloud.  Would that be something?  I stayed all night with my father once after my mom died and he sang all night long.  It drove me nuts and I never stayed in the house again.  To make it even worse he sang spirituals.  It is a wonder his neighbors never complained.  Perhaps they were all saved by his nocturnal habits.

And to all of you out there with OCD that have ear worms I leave you with…Delta Dawn what’s that flower you have on…  OMG!

I didn't know what to post as a photo so i chose a bigass pile of cabbage rolls.  Now I want one.